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Time Limits

The psychology doctoral program has three time limits:

  • Pre-candidacy limit (PCTL) - 4 academic years. Maximum registered time by which a student must advance to doctoral candidacy.
  • Support limit (SUTL) - 8 academic years. Maximum registered time during which a doctoral student is eligible for support.
  • Total registered time limit (TRTL) - 8 academic years. Maximum registered time by which a student must complete all doctoral requirements.

In addition, each doctoral program has a Normative Time, the period within which students, under normal circumstances, are expected to complete requirements for the doctorate, however it is not required you complete by this time. Normative time in Psychology is 5 years. Normative Time cannot be extended.

Up to three quarters time spent on approved leave of absence and up to three quarters of time on approved parenting leave from the graduate program will not count in the above limits.

Time spent withdrawn from the graduate program will count toward all time limits (pre-candidacy, support, total, and normative) for a student who is readmitted to the graduate program.

Time spent at UC San Diego as a master's, non-degree graduate, or intercampus exchange student will count in the above time limits.

Students will not be permitted to continue in doctoral status if they have not advanced to candidacy before the expiration of the pre-candidacy time limit or if they have not completed their program before the expiration of the total time limit. Students will not be permitted to receive UC San Diego-administered financial support after the expiration of their support time limits. Students will automatically be terminated from the program at the end of the spring quarter of their eighth academic year in the department.

Adjustment to the time limits for students who change departments may be made upon departmental recommendation and approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies (normative time is not adjusted for quarters registered at half-time status). Enrollment in the Interdisciplinary Program may extend or shorten time limits. Currently, students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Program have a Support limit and a Total time limit of 7 years instead of 8 years. The graduate student's faculty adviser may request an extension with the endorsement of the Chair of the Interdisciplinary program to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The adviser will need to provide justification for delay and include a plan of action and a timeline for successful completion.

Please note, TAships and other instructional appointments (for instance, Associate In (teaching a class) appointments) are limited to a total of 18 academic quarters (exclusive of summer). This 18-quarter instructional limit is set by the University of California Office of the President (UCOP). Thus, grads without external or faculty support, after their 6th year, will be unable to be supported as TAs or as instructors of courses.